My process for outlining a book involves both planning it and winging it. “I’m doing the next book more efficiently,” I tell myself every time. The next book, not this one–which resembles a happy tangle moving over the landscape. You know, like a tumbleweed? Uh-huh.
Index cards? Post-it notes? The Gingko App? I like the idea of these–and the Gingko App was exciting when I discovered it–but I always go back to the old-fashioned way, namely, a rough outline by hand. “I’ll try Gingko for the next book,” I say. You already know what will probably happen…
I wish I didn’t have to “paint with the wet edge of the brush” either. Meaning that I must line up the details as I am writing it “now”–in the current chapter–before I can get details for the next chapter straight. Other writers talk about a dashed-off first draft, but I can’t seem to do one. I leave out too much! I blame my background in serialized fiction. Or something. Scatty thinking?
I also wish my final version of the ending didn’t keep growing. It happened with Mercy’s Embrace and it’s where I am now with Darcy By Any Other Name. I had an ending in mind when I began, but the details that have emerged are something else. What I thought would take “maybe three chapters more” has grown into ten. On the other hand, the lead-up to the end will be richer, more complex, and (I hope) more satisfying.
Here are storytelling resources I’ve found helpful. Because nobody goes it alone. Isn’t it great to borrow someone else’s brain?
Speaking of borrowing brains, why not check out what the other Challenge authors are blogging about? You’ll find their blogs here. Thanks for stopping by!